By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — The Marshfield Common Council voted 8-1 Tuesday night to approve the redesign plans for a two-block stretch of Second Street from Maple Avenue to Chestnut Avenue.
In a surprising turn of events, C.W. Mitten of Mitten’s Home Appliance spoke at the meeting supporting the concept. The Mitten’s organization has spoken at several previous meetings opposing the Second Street Corridor primarily due to the loss of parking that would likely occur with the proposed redevelopment.
Affected business owners met with city officials Tuesday morning and came together on a series of small changes to the Second Street proposal that would make the plan more agreeable to the businesses.
“We had a very positive meeting this morning, and I think what is going to happen is going to happen. Minor tweaking is not out of the question,” Mitten said. “I think positive things will come from this, and with minor tweaking I think we can make it work.”
City Administrator Steve Barg added, “It was a meeting that I think shows how things are supposed to work when people come together to try and address concerns.”
Modifications include enlarging a planned loading zone in front of the Charles Apartments, staggering some landscaping for better visibility of affected businesses, and changing a loading zone in front of Mitten’s into parking.
The overall plan calls for the creation of one-way streets flowing east from Central Avenue to Maple Avenue and west from Central to Chestnut Avenue as well as the installation of angled parking in this two-block stretch. Also included in the plan are areas for public art installations, pedestrian lighting, added green space, and outdoor seating areas.
Alderwoman Alanna Feddick gave the lone vote against the project moving forward, saying that she realizes it is part of a larger vision for the downtown area but that, that vision had not been adequately expressed by the city.
“The people who have talked to me see it truthfully as spending money without a full vision accomplished, which has certainly not been expressed to the public I would think in this entire project,” Feddick said.
Mayor Chris Meyer agreed with Feddick that the city had not done a good enough job communicating the full vision for the Second Street project in the context of what it means for the downtown.
The Second Street redesign is part of a larger vision detailed in the Downtown Master Plan, which was approved by the council earlier this year and outlines a comprehensive plan for making continued improvements to downtown Marshfield.
The Downtown Master Plan advocated for the Second Street project in the context of an overall goal to make downtown a destination location for residents to recreate and business to locate or stay. The development of Hardacre Park as a downtown green space and potential development at the former News-Herald site also fit into this larger vision for downtown Marshfield.